Philippines' Interior chief tests positive for COVID-19

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 31 2020 08:22 PM | Updated as of Apr 01 2020 12:14 AM

MANILA (UPDATE) - Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said Tuesday he tested positive for the novel coronavirus after being exposed to people infected with the disease.

So far, Año, 58, is the lone member of President Rodrigo Duterte's Cabinet who acquired the infectious disease.

Año said he received the result from the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) on Tuesday, 4 days after taking the test.

"Last March 26, 2020, after learning that 4 persons I had associated with tested positive for COVID-19, I started my 14 day self-quarantine," the retired military chief said in a statement.

"On March 27, I got tested. Today, March 31, I received the result from RITM informing me that I am positive for COVID-19," he added.

In announcing his condition to the public, Año called on "all persons I had close contact with to go on self-quarantine and observe any symptoms, in accordance with DOH guidelines."

The interior chief said he had not developed any symptoms and will continue to work from home.

"To all those concerned, I am doing fine," he said.

"The result of my test will not in any way dampen my spirit and energy to do my job."

It was not immediately clear if Año is among the country's 2,084 confirmed COVID-19 cases, as of Tuesday.

Interior Secretary Eduardo Año, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and Presidential Adviser Carlito Galvez Jr. check the thousands of aid packages donated by the People's Republic of China to help the Philippines combat coronavirus at the Villamor Air Base in Pasay City on March 21, 2020. Toto Lozano, Presidential Photo

Meanwhile, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, who was exposed to Año on March 21, said he has tested negative for COVID-19.

Both officials previously checked the arrival of medical supplies donated by China at the Villamor Air Base in Pasay City.

In a text message to ABS-CBN News, Lorenzana said he underwent a rapid test and a RITM-led test.

"Both negative. Thank God," he wrote, adding he will finish his self-quarantine until April 6.

Sought for comment, Sen. Christopher "Bong" Go, who was together with Año and Lorenzana on the same event, said he would also continue his self-quarantine.

The senator said he and President Rodrigo Duterte will not undergo a repeat test yet. Both earlier tested negative for the virus.

"'Di na muna," Go said.

Some Philippine senators also tested positive for the disease that originated in China.